Ian Gillon JR-Jokers Wild, The Solo Album.
Release Date: 1st September 2023 Reviewed on: 10th September 2023 by Dave Diamond Promoter of The Boomerang Club-London.
All the instruments and vocals are by Ian Gillon JR. Produced Mixed and mastered by: Ian Gillon JR. Front cover artwork by: Jonnie Hensman. jonathanhensmanart.co.uk Front cover photo taken by: Craig at The Rhythm Riot in 2022. Thank you to my son Alex for the photography that Johnnie turned into the cartoon images.
Ian has been in the following bands since the 80’s in no particular order…The Wigsville Spliffs, The Bus Stop Boys, Juke Joint Jump, as well as being the compere at The Rhythm Riot U.K.
All tracks are written and arranged by Ian Gillon JR and he tells me they were all recorded in his music room.
Let’s take a listen: Gonna Win Your Heart- opening track, here we go… I’ve been waiting so long for this moment so the volume is up nice and high and I’m going in daddio’s! starts off with a fab boogie woogie and added horns drums bass…all played to perfection, and as Ian says “Oh Yeah… feelin’ good!” this track really does have everything and 100% is a sure-fire hit dance floor filler on the jive circuit…nice breakdown section with the slapping bass and horns, that then explode into the guitar break, and with a fab harmony vocal on the chorus that just adds that extra spice to this boiling hot dish! Oh yeah!!
Jokers Wild-title track of the C.D. that Ian wrote over 20 years ago and tells me “while the boys in the band (Bus Stop Boys ) liked it I never really did. I didn't think it was rockin’ enough at the time, they always wanted to do it but ... I guess I have changed my mind., so here it is at last” This track has a great soul feel to it, the back beat and horns are so enormous and pumping to the full. It sure is a powerhouse powerful tune and It will leave you outta beath as this track is really kickin’!
Lovin Man-An old Wigsville Spliffs number written by Ian and giving a real bluesy make over. This version really hits the bullseye, if you dig the sounds of George Thoroughgood with a rockin’ twist then this track is for you! Loving the key changes throughout and the oil can guitar really sings when playing the slide, it has a steady single shot drum beat during the verses and Ian’s voice is spot on… 1 and a half minutes longer than the original version that’s also written by Ian…Bad to the bone… it sure is folks!
Hot Chilli Dip-was going to be a Juke Joint Jump tune but never made it into the set so this is a first-time number for the album. At just under 3 minutes here we have an up-tempo swingin’, twistin’, bluesin’ jumpin’ track. This number really showcases Ian’s vocal range amongst all that fabulous backing form all his great musicianship… fabulous lyrics and another marvellous original self-penned track!
A Shot In The Dark- Ian has made this track into a more surf guitar style version of the Henry Mancini classic that’s from the Pink Panther films and tells me it’s a song he’s always loved. Wowsville! This is just so phenomenal. This version is more up-tempo and reminds me of Joe Loss meets The John Barry Seven… I’m loving this version so much, It’s just gotta get some play on the British Rock ‘n’ Roll scene, this is just exceptional… and at just 2 minutes 56 I’m gonna just have to play it again!!
Soaking Wet- Here we go mid-way though this solo album that really does have so much energy. This one has more of a groove feel to it and at a strollin pace will get lots of play. Reminds me of Beale Street and the clubs and pubs of Memphis Tennessee… Another enormous track with fab lyrics.
You Broke My Heart- Ian tells me this was written during the Lockdown times… “well who hasn't suffered a little heartache along the way…I’ve always loved a bit of Doo Wop and good fun harmonising with yourself!” Here we go with a tremendous Doo-Wop harmony vocal tune, love that guitar run down, and the instrumental section is stupendous… horns a plenty, great ending and Ian has hit the bullseye on this tune!
High Time- Back to the jump blues on track seven, this track is a very catchy number and so much so, that I get the feeling I’ve heard it before. It’s a real foot tapping track with great backing vocals once again from Ian and lyrics just spot on…and with a nice double instrumental break too, this song has a real feel-good vibe running all the way through it…”high time, you’re the gal for me!” awesome piano once again…love it!
Beat The Blues-What a fab title for a track, another great rhythm jive number, if you’re going to Rhythm Riot that expect this track to be played non-stop! It has a great mix of the 40’s and 50’s styes running through it… Beat the blues and just feel the rhythm and man oh man you better dig it daddios oh yeah!
I Guess I’m Drunk Again- Here we have another Wigsville Spliffs number written by Ian and given a different spin. This one is more jump rhythm and blues with horns and piano and it sounds so fabulous. When the blues come a knockin’ then be sure you open your door to this magnificent track and make sure you pour yourself a double and crank the volume up to the max!!
Rock With My Grandfather Clock- Ian says this was going to be the most risqué song ever, but I bottled it and kept it clean! Blimey penultimate track already from this powerhouse solo C.D. At 3 minutes 31 here we have a great jump-tastic track and fab original lyrics once again. It’s been mastered and mixed just perfectly by Ian, sounds right outta the 50’s and love the way the piano is mixed just behind the guitar work on the first break and then on the second with the horns blowing with the guitar picking… nice key change on the last section…hickory dickory dock, you gotta play it non-stop!
Last Roll Of The Dice- And here you are are at the final track from this explosive rockin’ blues-tabulous release! Finishing off with an up-tempo rockin jump track, guaranteed to get you on that dance floor right from the off! Great key changes going on and love the horns once again, this is another fab catchy tune, I would so love to see this one played live one day… Hey Ian… you gotta do it daddio! Get those dice out buddy and roll me a double six… let it roll matey!
In his own words –about myself and influences? It has taken a long time to get round to doing this solo album and something I have wanted to do for some time. I had to learn how to use the Digital Audio Workstation and all the mixing and mastering techniques. Don't get me wrong I have probably committed some proper errors here but hey I had a go! You will hear a mix of inspiration from everything Rock N Roll to Jazz, Doo Wop Blues etc. Old and Modern artists. You may hear some Haley style through to a bit of Restless and everything in between.
My influences range from Gene Vincent to Big Joe Turner, Amos Milburn, Wynonie Harris, Burnette all the Sun stuff The Treniers, The Five Keys all the way through to my mates Restless, Frenzy The Guana batz The Texans, Buzz & the Flyers, Western Swing you name it most of it I love it. The solo album is a chance to use songs that otherwise might not have seen the light of day. Also, I have no mates...............joking!
I have not always been 100% happy with anything I have recorded before. Studio time costs and the sound engineer always puts their spin on it. I am not really a musician, I play by ear and can't really tell anyone what I want technically. You hum it son I will play it! This time I only have myself to blame and my time costs nothing!!
CLOSING COMMENTS ABOUT THE ALBUM: Wow! here we have the 12 track solo album from Ian and boom!… after so many years in the making this one is sure worth the wait daddio’s! If you like your jumpin’ Rhythm & Blues with a mix of Rock n Roll, Doo Wop, mixed with harmony vocals and the big beat sounds then look no further. Ian has written so many prodigious tracks and this is a limited edition of only 200 copies, so please be quick if you want to get your hands on one daddios!
YOU TUBE CLIP: https://youtu.be/V5l9i4cIOwo?si=r5rJSnRaiU5sKNSq